So I'm back from the Asian American Studies conference which took place at the Hyatt in Chicago. I didn't bring my camera (too busy trying to schlep together my presentation) but I had a great time there. I stayed with some very gracious friends of a friend in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood. It was particularly cool that they came to watch some panels. Convention crashing they called it. Very doable at a conference like this where you get a lot of panels that deal with a topic that can have personal relevance, and others that are just fun (e.g. race and Battlestar Gallactica is always a popular topic). The HUGE neurology conference was happening next door so apparently we got free wifi from them. Anyways, I was really happy with our kick ass panel which had a bigger audience than several of the panels that were held in a larger room. We got some tough questions but we managed to evade those losers with small penises who don't really have a real question, those folks who just like to go on and on to demonstrate their own knowledge and hear themselves talk. Bastards. We also saw a particularly weak talk given by someone who spoke with incredible conviction and authority. It reminded me of Miss South Carolina. If you mute the sound she sure looks like she knows what she's talking about as did this guy. Often I feel like I'm the one that is presenting a weak or un-insightful argument but then I saw this guy's talk and I'll admit it gave my low academic self-esteem a much needed boost.

Anyways, the weather there was unexpectedly warm and sunny while over in Seattle, it rained, hailed and then also got sunny. Weird. Since I got back I've been trying to catch up on all the shit I put aside as I frantically prepared for that conference. It's been great to take some time to do things that people don't normally have to budget time for -- laundry, doing dishes, unpacking from my move, figuring out how to take the bus from my new place. But I guess being a grad student is just not a normal situation.



So my student got up in the beginning of class and said she had a weird question. (and in my head I thought, "try me"). She said to me, "I had my bike stolen a while ago, and I can see it, right now, outside our window with someone else's lock on it. Can I go and call the cops?" Of course I immediately dismissed her so she could take care of that business. I haven't seen her since but I can't wait to hear if she managed to get her bike back. This serves as a reminder to register your bike (and laptop) with your local police. If you're on my campus, here's how.

top 10

I am going to finish off my top ten list of things I wont miss in Lake Shitty. Let me recap

10. drunk people urinating in the bus shelter
9. sketchy businesses - XX stores, gun shops, strip club
8. shopping carts inside my building
7. people not stopping at the uncontrolled intersection
6. sloppy building next door

and now I'll come up with reasons 5 through 1.

5. no coffee shops are open late in the area (except Starbucks which has no free wifi and burnt tasting expensive coffee with no frequent customer cards and they wonder why they're doing shitty) . The closest coffee shop open later than 7:30pm is way up in Shoreline or down in the U-District.

4. pan handlers. It's almost impossible to go to QFC to buy groceries without being approached by a pan handler, or having to walk past a whole group of them hanging out behind the businesses which can be intimidating. Most of them don't appear to be homeless, they're just asking for money instead of working. As someone who makes $14K a year for my halftime TA appointment, which is less than anyone who works full-time at minimum wage... and I still manage to pay rent, that pisses me off. If you have a place to live and clean clothes to wear like many of those panhandlers, you can get at least a minimum wage job and make more than I do in a year and stop asking me for money.

3. abandoned cars. There were two cars abandoned on my street for months, then after the flood, another car was left abandoned and because it had been flooded it actually started to grow furry stuff on the seats. Apparently Lake Shitty is the place to leave unwanted cars

2. public library. The Lake Shitty branch is about the size of someone's living room. I've never seen a smaller library with so many noisy children running around unsupervised in my life. It SUCKS.

1. I don't feel safe walking around. I love to walk and I hate driving but even around dusk I don't like to be walking around in Lake Shitty. In fact, when I went jogging in broad daylight I often got unwanted attention (whistles, hollers, comments etc) from people hanging around or driving by. I saw one guy almost run through a 4 way stop because he was looking at the ass of a woman bent over pulling weeds from her garden. People are just generally trashy there and can't keep their comments or eyes to themselves.

Where I live now, which I've heard referred to as the homo-hipster area (Davie meets Kitsilano for you Vancouverites), I can walk everywhere and feel safe even at night. I'm in a more quiet residential neighbourhood while being no more than a 10 minute walk to cafes, bars, little boutique stores, and restaurants. There is some rif raf as in any major city, but people are more eclectic and friendly and less sketchy/trashy/up to no good. I still have noisy neighbours but it's heavy walking/video game noise, not children screaming or couples arguing which has been my experience in the past particularly in Lake Shitty.



Let's review the latest series of disasters that seem to define my life:

1. laptop power supply broke before I could get a copy of a paper out of it
2. jerk who sold me one on eBay sat on it for many days before shipping it out
3. food poisoning had me puking my guts out and on my ass and not eating solid food for 4 days
4. drank Ensure to get some nutrients, felt sick, and realized it contains soy which I'm allergic to (this proves that god hates me)
5. moved to my new place (while still sick) and was too weak to unpack
6. got a 4" split down the ass crack of my new pants while squatting down to pick up a vacuum cleaner - brand fucking new pants too
7. missed a meeting as a result of not having my laptop with me constantly because obviously it serves as my brain and I cannot function without it

Now I'm almost all unpacked, the power supply came, and I'm almost recovered from the food poisoning (although I'm still tired and getting headaches and heartburn). Hopefully things start looking up from here. I have a flight booked on American to go to Chicago next week so they better hurry the fuck up and finish checking the wiring on those planes.

Going to go home and try to steal some wifi now.



So I didn't blog for a while because I was busy packing for my move and working on a conference paper, but since then my power adapter broke (ie no access to my laptop) and yesterday I must have gotten some sort of food poisoning so now I'm stuck on my couch and borrowing K's MacBook. Threw up violently 4 times, got chills which alternated with hot flashes and got super dizzy. Thing is that all I ate yesterday was leftovers (which didn't make me sick when I ate them the first time) plus some dry mushroom stuffed tortellini from Trader Joe's that I boiled. I can't see how that could make me sick but something sure did a number on me. I've never had food poisoning before so this is my first experience of this hell. I haven't puked like this since I was a little kid. I liken it to your worst hangover times a million. I am ready for this run of bad luck to stop now. I have to move tomorrow so I'm hoping I can stand for long periods of time by then. Right now I can't even get up to do a load of laundry.